The Browns welcomed tight end Alex Smith back to practice but were missing several key defensive players and three wide receivers today during the 20-minute portion open to reporters.
Smith practiced today for the first time since he suffered a concussion Sept. 16 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Shurmur said he expects Smith to play Sunday when the Browns (0-5) host the Bengals (3-2) in a rematch.
Middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson didn’t practice today after suffering a concussion Sunday in the Browns’ 41-27 loss to the New York Giants. Jackson was at the team’s headquarters and attended meetings, coach Pat Shurmur said.
If Jackson can’t play Sunday, it would be a significant blow to the defense. Undrafted rookie L.J. Fort would likely fill in for Jackson.
“He’s the leader of that defense,” Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said of Jackson today during a conference call. “He’s always making plays. He’s a big part of that defense.”
Defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (lower leg), cornerback Dimitri Patterson (sprained left ankle) and undrafted rookie free safety Tashaun Gipson (knee) didn’t practice, either. Wide receivers Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring), Travis Benjamin (hamstring) and Jordan Norwood (reported foot injury) were out, too.
Rookie running back Trent Richardson will serve as the Browns’ fourth captain against the Bengals. … Shurmur was asked how he handles criticism and second-guessing from the media. “I tend to handle it fine, I think,” he said. “How it’s perceived, I can’t control that.”